Family Life in Zambia

Sunset at the airstrip

Sunset at the airstrip

Hello from a hot and dry Zambia!
Its getting warm here, with temperatures in the mid 90’s F/35 C. We are eagerly awaiting the rains, which have not been seen since April!

Recently, we were very blessed to be visited by Jonathan’s mom, Janet, who came to meet her newest grandchild. We had a wonderful time over the three weeks she was here- visiting some local spots and spending nice time reconnecting. We are grateful for the time we could share and the help she gave in looking after Judah and preparing meals. We even were able to get out for a date night! She was also able to bring many things for Judah purchased with money so many of you donated to us for him.  We are so very thankful for all the cards and support he has received!

Judah and Sonia are in a good routine as they spend time at home. Judah is healthy and sleeping well. Sonia has a small role with the mission, helping publish news stories to the flying mission website.

The departure of our Aircraft Maintenance Manager has meant Jonathan has had to step back into this role until someone else is found. Other recent departures have left us with just one other mechanic regularly helping in the shop, and he also does part time pilot duties.  Jonathan is currently working as pilot/mechanic and a manager! He and the other staff at the mission are spread thin! We appreciate your prayers for the team during this time as many juggle multiple roles.

As well as looking for a Maintenance Manager, and more maintenance people and pilots; the mission is also seeking personnel in the areas of administration, finance, guest house management, facilities and logistics work. Please contact us if you have any skills you could offer and are interested in joining the team- short or long term.

We are blessed to be living and working in a country that deems itself a Christian nation. As such, Zambia recently declared a national day of prayer. On this day the Flying Mission team got together and spent the day in prayer-for FMZ missionaries and departments, for the Zambian people, regions and leadership, and for our Zambian workers. This was a lovely day spent being closer to the Lord through prayer together. We are so glad the mission sees this as important.

Jonathan has been pleased to restart the weekly bible study he leads with local Zambian boys. Please pray he can connect well and disciple these guys in the ways they need.

Well, thats all from us for now,
God’s Blessings on you all,

 

Jonathan and Sonia

Praises For:

  • Safe travel to and from for Janet (Jonathan’s mom), and a blessed time together.
  • Judah’s continued healthy growth. 

Prayers for:

  • More people to join FMZ, and for those that are taking on more to have stamina.
  • Jonathan in the Maintenance Manager role.
  • Sonia as she spends her time raising Judah.
  • The boys bible study on Wednesday evenings
    Sonia and Judah

    Judah already enjoys books!

    Judah and Janet

    Judah enjoying time with his Abuela!

Settling in…

The new office next to the hangar is almost done!

Hello from hot and rainy Zambia!

Settling back in
We have settled into our old house and unpacked belongings we had in storage. It was like Christmas unpacking things we forgot we even owned! Our cat Randy was happy to see us and our garden has grown significantly in some places. A banana tree we planted was about a metre high when we left, and almost 18 months later has sprouted many more trees two of which are about 20 feet/6 metres!! Both trees even have bunches of bananas we are looking forward to harvesting. We have enjoyed picking lemons, mulberries, passionfruit, mangos, avocados and guava from our garden and the FMZ grounds. We have also really enjoyed reconnecting with old friends, and colleagues at FMZ.

Jonathan started back at work and was able to renew his pilot licence with the Zambian Civil Aviation Authority and do some recurrency flights and is now back on board and did his first passenger flight this past week. Sonia has started her role as Front Desk Manager at the mission. This is an all new and diverse role for the mission so she is figuring out how the role looks and putting processes and procedures in place for the future.

Baby related news
The Baby Weaver bump continues to grow and Sonia is feeling really good. All the most recent health tests on Sonia and baby have come back normal. After research, advice and prayer we thought it was best to return to New Zealand to have baby. The healthcare in New Zealand is of great quality and under the socialised healthcare scheme, is free. We will also have support of Sonia’s family and friends during this important and new time as we adjust to being parents. We are grateful the mission has approved the time to be away. Our plans are as follows…

April 21 Sonia departs Zambia

June 9 Jonathan Departs Zambia

July 4 (approx) Baby Weaver due

August 20 Weaver family departs NZ back to Zambia

FMZ news
Flying Mission has developed a lot while we have been away. Previously we were all crammed into very tight spaces. Sonia’s old desk was in the kitchen, or wherever there was a spare place, and most people had little room to do their jobs. Now there is an all new office facility which has been built next to the hangar, (see top photo) and there is much room for people and things. Flying Mission’s vision is also to serve missionaries in a new way by offering office and conference spaces for their use, as well as to expand the support we offer to them through other ‘logistics’ services. We are excited to see how these are utilised by the church and mission community in Zambia as we serve them in new and different ways. A new couple and their young child have also joined the mission to help with logistics and possibly the guesthouse, so its great to have more hands on board!

Thats all for now,

God’s Blessings on you all,

Jonathan and Sonia

Praises For:

  • Safe arrival and good transition so far back to Zambia
  • Sonia’s Healthy pregnancy thus far
  • Jonathan quickly getting back to flying

Prayers for:

  • A continued good transition back into life in Zambia
  • Baby Weaver’s continued healthy growth
  • Safe flying and good health here in Zambia

Just a normal drive during the rainy season!

Sonia doing her job at the “Front Desk” in the new FMZ office facility.

Jonathan and Jason painting the staircase in the new office area.

A growing Sonia with our now fully grown Banana tree!

Many Transitions – July 2016

Hello and Welcome
to the 2nd edition of the Team Weaver newsletter.

We have been busy here in Zambia for the couple of months we have been back. Sonia is now helping out part time in the finance department of the FMZ office, and Jonathan has continued to be busy with his Chief Engineer and flying roles. We are adjusting well to married life here in Zambia. For Jonathan its returning to his current home, for Sonia this now means a long term future as a missionary in Zambia.

One of the conditions for acceptance as a long term missionary with Flying Mission is that everybody complete a course in cross cultural living, usually with a missionary emphasis. Because Sonia has always come on a short term basis, she has never completed one of these courses, nor has she ever had any formal bible training. It has also been on her heart for some time, that if she is to be a long-term missionary, and to be the best one she can possibly be, she should complete bible and cross cultural training.

Flying Mission has also recommended that we spend some time during our first year of marriage away from the mission field to give us a chance to adjust to married life in a less stressful environment.

All Nations Christian College is a missionary training school just north of London in the UK that several Flying Mission members have attended for their cross cultural training at the recommendation of Flying Mission. After considering various options, All Nations seems to be the best fit, and we are currently in the final stages of being accepted to study there starting in September. Sonia will be doing a Certificate in Biblical and Intercultural Studies, and Jonathan will pursue a Masters in Contextual Theology. We are excited for this opportunity to be enriched, and to qualify and equip ourselves further for our missionary work in Zambia. Check the school out HERE!

We will continue to be under Flying Mission during this time, as we will return to Zambia after study, and the way we receive our support will not change. In the UK we are going to try to live on the same budget we have had in Zambia. All Nations has already blessed us with some scholarship funds and by connecting us with a couple who offer an “in-law suite” (granny flat) to couples attending the school at a highly discounted rate. Its awesome to see how God is already attending to our needs! Next request is a car to use while we are there. 🙂

Share OUR experience

Recently, Jonathan went on a flight to a rural area area and ended up bringing two missionaries (who were going to take the 18 hour bus ride) to Lusaka for a few days to get visas. They were hoping to use FMZ’s guesthouse, however it was full. While Jonny was flying up, Sonia was asked if we could host this couple for accommodation and meals. We have a spare room so hosting others is a great way to bless and serve in these situations. So Sonia set to work making up the spare room and preparing dinner, and advised Jonny that his passengers would also be our house guests. Later, Jonny and the missionaries arrived. Turns out they were from New Zealand! That night we all enjoyed a meal together. It was nice for Sonia to hear NZ accents and talk of things ‘home.’ The guests ended up staying three nights and were served by FMZ in terms of air transport, accommodation and car hire, making their time in Lusaka quicker and easier. We were happy to be part of that. Jonny was scheduled to fly the missionaries back on a Saturday and stay overnight up there to bring someone else back the next day. Sonia is getting used to Jonny being away on weekends and overnights, but this time, there was space in the plane both ways, and because Jonny has built a relationship with people up there, he arranged for Sonia to accompany him on this particular overnighter. Our guests ended up hosting us for an afternoon while we awaited our own hosts, and we were then blessed with wonderful hospitality on a bonus night away to a beautiful rural area!

 

The window and door bars are in! The church is now "secure" and services are being held in the building!! Next up is glass to keep wind and rain out!

The window and door bars are in! The church is now “secure” and services are being held in the building!! Next up is glass to keep wind and rain out!

Beautiful African Sunrise before an early morning flight.

Beautiful African Sunrise before an early morning flight.

Thank goodness I only had one passenger on my flight the other day; everything behind the front two seats was filled with groceries and supplies for a mission hospital!

Thank goodness I only had one passenger on my flight the other day; everything behind the front two seats was filled with groceries and supplies for a mission hospital!

 

Praises For:

  • Married life- its going well and we are both enjoying it
  • God going before us and providing well priced accommodation in the U.K

Prayers for:

  • Final preparations for studying at All Nations in the U.K, in September
  • Jonny in his role as Chief Engineer
  • Provision of more people at FMZ
  • Full recovery for Jonny’s Dad John, from lung cancer

Update January 2016

The water is returning to Victoria Falls after a long dry season.

The water is returning to Victoria Falls after a long dry season.

Hello Friends!

Happy New Year and welcome to the latest edition of my newsletter. Our flying has been slower the last few months, but we have still been busy! I enjoyed a bit of down time around the holidays, but otherwise we have been working on projects and catching up on paperwork and organizing from our busy season. The rains have FINALLY come to our part of Zambia, and Victoria Falls is slowly filling with water! Our power outages have not been helped by below average rainfall thus far this rainy season, but we are hopeful the fresh rain will ease the problem at least for a while.
Sonia and I are excited and have been busy with wedding preparations. We are now down to the smaller details. I will be traveling soon to New Zealand, to officially (I’ve met them via Skype) meet her family, do some support raising, and finish the wedding preparations. Then we will be married on April 1st, 2016. As it turns out, the most in the middle spot for both families to come to for the wedding is Hawaii! Rough place to get married and honeymoon I know. 🙂 But with a small wedding it will be less expensive then throwing a bigger wedding in either of our home cities.
Many people have asked for a gift registry or how they can help us with the wedding and honeymoon. Seeing how it isn’t really in the budgeted support I raise, we are asking anyone who wants to give a gift to donate towards the expense of the wedding and honeymoon. You can send in extra gifts to Flying Mission through the usual method Here, or give to the special site we set up Here. If you choose this second method note that you do not have to give the additional 6% to You Caring that they recommend (at the bottom simply click on their recommended extra donation and change it to “Other Amount” and change the amount to $0.00). We really appreciate all of the love and support we have already received from you all, and are excited to see how our future unfolds. Currently, we plan to return to Zambia at the end of April and continue serving with Flying Mission Zambia, with the hope that we will also spend some time studying at a Bible School sometime towards the end of the year. Sonia has never had any formal Bible training, and it will be a good chance for us to spend time together during our first year of marriage.

SME (Share my Experience)
Around mid 2015 we found that two of our Cessna 206 aircraft were developing cracks in their landing gear castings. This problem is a common one for higher time aircraft that are used on rough bush airstrips, but is of the highest importance because eventually it could lead to a failure of the landing gear! It is a monumental project to undertake, requiring removing most of the floor of the aircraft to get to the casting, then removing the casting itself and replacing it with a new (and expensive) one! Our guys were up to the task! We planned the projects for a time when the aircraft wouldn’t be needed for a couple of weeks and got down to it. The first one went well, and the second went even better as they now had the experience to do things more efficiently. Our friends at JAARS (the transportation branch of Wycliffe Bible Translators) have a modification that gives the new casting a longer life and makes it easier to change in the future, and they were kind enough to share it with us, so we followed their plans for our project. My role is no longer as much hands on work, but I checked on the progress of the project, did the final checks to make sure everything was put back together correctly, and completed the paperwork signing the aircraft back off as Airworthy at the completion of the project. We are back to flying both aircraft with fresh life in the landing gear!

The floor of one of our c-206's being put back together after changing out gear castings.

The floor of one of our c-206’s being put back together after changing out gear castings.

If you have any questions or comments please email me, I’ll be happy to answer them and give you even more information on what life is like here in Zambia!

God’s Blessings on you all,

Jonathan

 

Praises For:

  • The rains that have finally come to our part of Zambia.
  • Our wedding plans coming together well.
  • Safety in all of our activities at Flying Mission.

Prayers for:

  • Safe travel to New Zealand and for the wedding.
  • Final wedding plans to come together.
  • Good support raising in NZ as we need some extra monthly funds to be in Zambia as a couple.

 

Engagement in Africa!

Sonia's introduction to the USA in June!

Sonia’s introduction to the USA in June!

Just wanted to update on some exciting news!
As many of you know I have been in a relationship with another missionary who has also been serving with Flying Mission for some time. Sonia and I met in June of 2014 at a meeting I went to with Flying Mission in Botswana. She also came up to Zambia for a short visit in August and then for a couple of months in October. We hit it off quite well and continued talking until she returned to Zambia in January 2015. Since that time we have grown closer together and enjoy spending time and serving together.

Sonia is from New Zealand, with a lovely accent, and is a teacher by trade. She began her African missions experience in 2012 serving with Flying Mission in Botswana, participating in a teacher training program run by Flying Mission. They give national teachers who haven’t had prior teaching training practical knowledge to teach children better. Sonia volunteered for 5 months and then headed back to NZ. Within a year however she felt Africa calling again and returned again to Botswana in April 2014 and when her teacher training course ended at the end of 2014 she was invited to come to Zambia to help us with various things. Sonia is leaving Zambia and heading back to NZ very soon and was looking for a reason to return, so I gave her one by asking her to marry me!! She has excitedly agreed and so we are making plans for a wedding probably in March next year with a return in April to Zambia. Most likely we will look for a place half way in-between New Zealand and Ohio to assure that as many of our family members as possible will be able to attend. If you would like to get to know Sonia better check out her blog HERE.

Enjoying some famous American Sites.

Enjoying some famous American Sites.

There will be more details to come, but for now we are excited about the future and serving together long term in Africa. We would appreciate your prayers as there are a lot of decisions to be made in the near future!

God Bless,

Jonathan and Sonia

Listen folks, we can't get it right every time.  And we don't have a selfie stick...

Listen folks, we can’t get it right every time. And we don’t have a selfie stick…

I took Sonia on a little flying adventure to Kelleys Island and Put-in-Bay.

I took Sonia on a little flying adventure to Kelleys Island and Put-in-Bay.

Update November 2015

You can pitch your tents just at the top of the falls! Don't fall in...

You can pitch your tents just at the top of the falls! Don’t fall in…

Hello Friends!

Welcome to the November edition of my newsletter! I hope all is well. Here in Zambia we have been enjoying (or suffering through) some hot weather. Just before the rains come every year the weather turns hot and humid and eventually it becomes enough that the rains come and provide much needed water for the land and comfort from the heat. Because of the water shortage in the Kariba Dam causing an electricity shortage in the country, this year everyone is waiting for the rains with even more anticipation! Our power outages have increased and there are rumors that it could get worse before it gets better.

At Flying Mission Zambia the flying has slowed down, and we have been busy with projects to organize and develop our property, and well as catching up on some larger maintenance projects on a couple of our airplanes. Recently we were able to take two days and participate in the Global Leadership Summit put on by Willow Creek Church in Chicago. This was a really great time of trying to learn and evaluate where we are as leaders ourselves and within Flying Mission. It is great that Flying Mission wants to help us improve as individual leaders and as well as the mission as a whole. Pray that we can take things we learned here and apply them to lead better and build unity within our team.

The church building we have been raising funds for is getting so close to being finished! Check out the picture below. They have been meeting in the building now for a few weeks, but because doors and windows haven’t been finished nothing can be left in the building between the weekly services. If the church can raise the remaining funds (which we will match) they could have bars on the windows and be able to lock the doors by the new year! It has been a long process, but the end is in sight.

SME (Share my Experience)
At least once a year it is nice to take some time to get away from the everyday routine at Flying Mission and see a bit more of Zambia. My girlfriend Sonia and I along with another couple from flying mission were able to take a week and visit and camp at some waterfalls around the northern part of Zambia (see the top picture for a spot we camped at!) It was a great time to get away a bit and see some really beautiful and hidden sites in Zambia. Check out some of the photo’s below to see God’s beauty in Zambia!

If you have any questions or comments please email me, I’ll be happy to answer them and give you even more information on what life is like here in Zambia!

Praises For:

Safe Flying during the Wildlife Count.
Safe travel during our holiday.
A chance to grow as a person and leader at the leadership conference.
Prayers for:

Flying Mission to grow and unify from the conference.
My Bible study to help these young men to grow in their faith.
Zambia’s leaders to wisely handle the power crisis.

Until next time take care, and God’s blessings on you all,

Jonathan

 

The roof has been finished on the whole building and the walls are sealed at the top.

The roof has been finished on the whole building and the walls are sealed at the top.

Camped near these waterfalls the first night.

Camped near these waterfalls the first night.

Above these falls is a network of cascading water and perfect swimming holes. Thankfully free of Crocodiles.

Above these falls is a network of cascading water and perfect swimming holes. Thankfully free of Crocodiles.

2nd highest waterfall in Africa! 772 foot drop. Breathtaking! The far side of the picture is Tanzania.

2nd highest waterfall in Africa! 772 foot drop. Breathtaking! The far side of the picture is Tanzania.

Picture at the top with my lady.

Picture at the top with my lady.

Sometimes when there's no water anywhere else... you have to wash your dishes at the top of a 700 foot water fall.

Sometimes when there’s no water anywhere else… you have to wash your dishes at the top of a 700 foot water fall.

Not everyday you see a momma Hyena with two babies!

Not everyday you see a momma Hyena with two babies!

Sunset over the Luangwa River.

Sunset over the Luangwa River.

Another breathtaking set of waterfalls!

Another breathtaking set of waterfalls!

We took a "short cut" to try to avoid a 9 Hr drive... once we finally found the track we did ok. Ask me the story sometime... it's a good one!

We took a “short cut” to try to avoid a 9 Hr drive… once we finally found the track we did ok. Ask me the story sometime… it’s a good one!

Glad this guy wasn't in any of the rivers we were swimming in!

Glad this guy wasn’t in any of the rivers we were swimming in!

Update Sept 2015

Elephant Sunset

Hello Friends!

I have adjusted back to what life is like here in Zambia, and my role overseeing the aircraft maintenance has kept me busy.  We have been asked again by the government organization overseeing Zambia’s national parks to participate in an aerial wildlife survey.  This is a great opportunity for us to continue to build ties within the government and also to help out the national parks with maintaining their wildlife.  This one is specific to counting elephants.  We have started this week and will probably carry on until sometime in October.  I have the responsibility of overseeing all of the inspections on the aircraft and getting them back out to the survey as quickly as possible, as well as doing some of the flying.  It is an enjoyable time and really good for building relationships with the Zambians we work with during the survey, but it is also quite tiring and involves long hours.  We do this on top of our normal mission flying, so it is a team effort to keep up with everything during these surveys.  Prayers for energy and safety during this survey are appreciated!

I do a Saturday morning Bible study with some of the neighborhood boys who are involved in our Soccer Ministry.  We have picked up where we left off when I took my furlough and it has been nice to see that most of the boys have returned and continue to come regularly.  We are currently working our way through the book of Acts.  Prayers are appreciated for these boys and also my teaching that the Lord can use my words to show them things about the Bible that can impact their lives.

Zambia has been experiencing a power shortage in recent months.  Most of the power comes from several hydro-electric power plants in a few places in the country.  The largest one drawing from Lake Kariba (the largest man made lake in the world) downstream of Victoria Falls, is quite low at the moment so all of Zambia has been experiencing frequent power cuts, we are averaging about 8 hours a day without power.  I am very thankful that at our base we have a generator and some solar and battery backups to keep us working while the power is out.  This has been a difficult situation for the country and for companies and local industry it has made the cost of doing business much more expensive and difficult.  The Kwacha (Zambia’s currency) has also fallen quite quickly verses the dollar causing some economic instability.  Please pray for the country as it handles this crisis and for wisdom as the government officials make difficult decisions.

SME (Share my Experience)
My work permit… Every two years I need to renew my work permit to remain in Zambia legally.  In January, we submitted the paperwork for my renewal which expired in February.  Once submitted it often takes a few weeks to be processed, approved, and renewed.  Usually, someone from Flying Mission will stop by the immigration office once a week to check on pending work permits.  When I left for the States in March, it still had not been renewed for an unknown reason (I am able to stay in the country with a pending application).  I went to the office the week before I left and was told they were having a meeting about it that week and it would be renewed very soon.  While I was gone weekly visits were made, but still there was no progress.  We finally determined that my file had been lost.  Unfortunately, no one at immigration did an exhaustive search for it, and each week we were just told to come back next week and it might be approved.  Sometime in July it was actually “approved” but still the actual paper file hadn’t been located… So we waited some more and continued our weekly visits.  Finally, one of my colleagues was able to speak to someone who eventually had a search done to find the missing file!  So after 9 months of waiting and 30+ visits to the office by someone from Flying Mission (usually at least a 45 min drive into town), I am the proud holder of a renewed employment permit!!  Praise the Lord!

Well that’s all for now, if you have any questions or comments please email me, I’ll be happy to answer them and give you even more information on what life is like here in Zambia!

God’s Blessings on you all,

Jonathan

Praises For:
The renewal of my work permit.
The chance to work with the Zambian Wildlife Authority again.
The backup electricity FMZ has in place to continue to function without power.

Prayers for:
Safe flying with for out animal surveys.
Energy for the extra work of the surveys.
My Bible study to help these young men to grow in their faith.
Zambia’s leaders to wisely handle the power crisis.